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Power distribution and endogenous segregation

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Working paper
Catherine Bros
Issue number: 
Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne
he aim of this paper is to provide a detailed analysis of the process of segregation formation. The claim is that segregation does not originate from prejudice or exogenous psychological factors. Rather it is the product of strategic interactions among social groups in a setting where one group has captured power. While using a model featuring random matching and repeated games, it is shown that whenever one group seizes power, mem- bers of other groups will perceive additional value in forging long term relationships with the mighty. They will systematically cooperate with the latter either because it is in their interest to do so or because they do not have other choice. The mighty natural response to this yearning to cooperate is to refuse intergroup relationships. The dominated group will best reply to this new situation by in turn rejecting the relationships and a segregation equilibrium emerges. Segregation stems from the system- atic cooperation by one group with another. However, not all societies that have experienced power captures converge towards segregation. It is shown that the proportion of individuals that are actually powerful within the mighty group determines convergence towards segregation.
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